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Mass. Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bharel confirmed her confirmed test results in a short statement released Friday evening.

"As the public health commissioner and an essential state employee, I have been vigilant about practicing social distancing from my colleagues and members of the public," she said. "My symptoms so far have been mild."

The commissioner said she's reached out to people with whom she's been in close contact and is working from home as she recuperates. She also said DPH offices will be cleaned over the weekend.

Bharel, along with Gov. Charlie Baker and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, has been one of the most public faces of the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak. She said she was tested Thursday and received results from the State Public Health Laboratory on Friday.

In a press conference Saturday, Baker said Bharel was “a rabid distancer.” He also said that the protocol being followed with her is the same as with others. She had symptoms and tested positive — and those who had close contact with her are now in isolation.

Baker added that he hasn’t been in the same room as Bharel in a week.

“I haven’t been tested because I have no symptoms," Baker said.

Her test result is one of 3,240 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts as of Friday. The state also reported 35 total deaths related to the illness.

This article was originally published on March 27, 2020.

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